Suggested Citation: Saboori, Ashkan, John T. Harvey, Jeremy D. Lea, Jon Lea, Rongzong Wu, Angel Mateos (2021) Pavement ME Sensitivity Analysis (Version 2.5.3). Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-21-92
The Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) is a comprehensive tool developed in 2002 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to analyze and design both flexible and rigid pavements. The models in the MEPDG are implemented in software called Pavement ME, a program calibrated using Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) sections from throughout the United States, including some from California. The MEPDG recommends that nationally calibrated models be validated using local data, and if necessary, recalibrated, which makes sense when considering the climate and materials differences between California and the rest of the nation. The first step in recalibrating Pavement ME is to perform a sensitivity analysis to identify which variables are most important and to look for results that do not match expected performance. The factorial for the sensitivity analysis was designed to identify sensitivity and is not the factorial to be used for the development of design tools. This report presents the results of a sensitivity analysis showing the effects of design input variables controlled by the designer, and those not known to the designer. The sensitivity analysis shows that the overall jointed plain concrete pavements (JPCP) performance prediction by Pavement ME is reasonable. The distresses predicted by Pavement ME did not show any unexpected trends for any of the variables considered in this sensitivity analysis. Over the course of this study, no major issues were identified in running Pavement ME. The next steps are to complete the calibration using California pavement management system data and then to develop the design tool with the calibrated Pavement ME coefficients.